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World Bank Staff Boosted China and Saudi Arabia Rankings

Summary:
The FT (and many other outlets) summarize a report by law firm WilmerHale which was commissioned by the World Bank: … in the 2018 edition of Doing Business, China’s overall ranking had been artificially held at 78 — the same as in the previous year — as a result of late changes that elevated its position from 85. The report alleges that Georgieva led efforts to improve China’s ranking at a time when she was “engrossed” in a campaign to secure a capital increase for the World Bank. … during the preparation of Doing Business 2018, high-ranking Chinese government officials “repeatedly expressed their concerns” to then World Bank president Jim Yong Kim and other senior bank managers … attempts were made in the days before publication of Doing Business 2018 to raise China’s ranking from

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The FT (and many other outlets) summarize a report by law firm WilmerHale which was commissioned by the World Bank:

… in the 2018 edition of Doing Business, China’s overall ranking had been artificially held at 78 — the same as in the previous year — as a result of late changes that elevated its position from 85. The report alleges that Georgieva led efforts to improve China’s ranking at a time when she was “engrossed” in a campaign to secure a capital increase for the World Bank.

… during the preparation of Doing Business 2018, high-ranking Chinese government officials “repeatedly expressed their concerns” to then World Bank president Jim Yong Kim and other senior bank managers

… attempts were made in the days before publication of Doing Business 2018 to raise China’s ranking from 85, such as incorporating data for Hong Kong into its scores. When these efforts failed … the report alleged, Georgieva “became directly involved”. … three indicators of business conditions — starting a business, legal rights-getting credit and paying taxes — were modified …

In a statement issued by the IMF, Georgieva disagrees “fundamentally with the findings and interpretations of Investigation of Data Irregularities as it relates to my role in the World Bank’s Doing Business report of 2018.”

The WilmerHale report also alleges irregularities in the Doing Business 2020 report as far as Saudi Arabia is concerned.

Dirk Niepelt
Dirk Niepelt is Director of the Study Center Gerzensee and Professor at the University of Bern. A research fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR, London), CESifo (Munich) research network member and member of the macroeconomic committee of the Verein für Socialpolitik, he served on the board of the Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics and was an invited professor at the University of Lausanne as well as a visiting professor at the Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES) at Stockholm University.

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